Published on March 25, 2016

8 reasons why an internship is hands down the best way to prepare for your career

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Anonymous

In today's competitive job market, employers are looking for the best of the best. They want you to have a glowing resume, an array of extracurricular hobbies and, on top of that, previous professional experience. But where do you get experience if no one will hire you because they're looking for someone with experience? The answer to this vicious circle: internships. By doing an international internship, you'll get all of the personal and cultural perks while simultaneously reaping the professional benefits of doing an internship. Check out our top 8 reasons why an internship is hands down the best way to prepare for your career.

 

The benefits of doing an internship

 

1. You gain valuable industry knowledge

Every career field operates in a different way and demands a separate set of skills and expertise. Gaining insider knowledge at a firm in your career field will help you realize how to properly prepare yourself for future interviews and for your career. Industry experience will also help you decide whether or not you are in the right field for you.

 

2. You get your foot in the door at a company in your field

Spending a few months getting to know a company, the employees and the work expectations will put you in a good position if you ever want to start working for the same firm, or a similar one, in the future. If they liked you and your work, they'll be more likely to hire you than someone that they haven't worked with before.

 

3. You can develop your professional skills

University learning can only take you so far. You really only start to sharpen and improve the professional skills related to your career field on the job. As an intern you gain practical and pragmatic experience and learn how to do your job well, rather than simply reading about the theory behind it.

 

benefits of doing an internship

 

4. You've got something to show a potential employer next time you're in an interview

Though academic records and job experience as a university tutor will say a lot about your work ethic and capabilities, employers prefer to choose candidates that have some experience that is relevant to the position they are hiring for. An internship gives you the opportunity to take on tasks that will be expected from you at your future job as well, so at your interview you'll be able to tell the hiring manager, "Yes - I can handle that. I did it at my internship."

 

5. You may be recruited to work full-time

An internship is the chance to prove yourself as a hard-working, intelligent and capable professional. If there is an entry-level position available, as an intern you are definitely in a competitive position to be considered for the spot. In fact, the firm will be more comfortable hiring someone who is familiar with how the company is run - like an intern.

 

6. You'll grow your network of professional contacts

A major advantage of an internship is that you're able to network and establish relationships with working professionals in your field. Fostering those professional connections can be useful for anything from career advice to a job recommendation. Moreover, developing a circle of friends within your career field can also end up being a good support group for when you're feeling frustrated in your career.

 

benefits of doing an internship

 

7. Your confidence in professional environments will improve

Learning office jargon, the art of small talk and the decorum an office environment demands takes time and exposure. Once you learn what's expected from you in a professional setting, you'll learn how to relax more at an office and focus more energy on excelling at the work itself.

 

8. It's a low-commitment way to test out a job and career path

When you accept a position at a firm, you're generally committing to at least a year working there. An internship, on the other hand, demands much less of a time commitment. That way, if you really don't like the job, you only have to wait it out a few months - not twelve.

 

Sources: http://heatherhuhman.com/15-quotes-to-inspire-you-during-your-internship/, http://career-advice.monster.com/career-development/education-training/students-benefits-internships/article.aspx

Photo 1. based on Pointing at button, by Steve wilson, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. by The Intern Group

Photo 3. based on Happy businesswoman, by Steve wilson, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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